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RELEASE: Begich Plan: Empower and Protect Alaska Native Communities

CONTACT: Max Croes907-570-2065

ANCHORAGE- Mark Begich is announcing a new policy plan to empower and protect Alaska Native and rural communities by protecting Native culture, making communities safer to live in, and providing our rural areas with the tools and resources they need to grow and strengthen their communities.

“In the U.S. Senate I have fought to provide for and protect Alaska Native communities and rural Alaska. From delivering hundreds of millions for infrastructure in rural Alaska to fighting forimproved public safety to standing up for subsistence rights, I will continue to be an ally of rural Alaska in the Senate. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished for rural Alaska in my first term, but there’s more work to be done and rural Alaska needs a fighter who understands the unique needs of our communities, not someone who’s going to learn on the job,” said Senator Mark Begich.


Protecting and Strengthening Subsistence Rights
Mark strongly supports subsistence rights for Alaska Native people and has fought hard to preserve them during his first term. He recognizes the essential role subsistence plays in the food security and cultural well being of our rural communities and has forced the federal government to increase its understanding and acceptance of this traditional way of life.
Promoting Sustainable Rural Economic Opportunity
For rural Alaska to thrive, we must continue to invest in the foundations of economic success: infrastructure, affordable transportation, job training programs, and social services. Mark knows there is no more pressing infrastructure issue for rural Alaska than addressing energy costs, which are among the highest in the nation. These prices place a heavy burden on rural Alaskans, taking up about 40 percent of a family’s budget on average. To provide rural Alaskans with the opportunities they deserve, they must be fully connected to high-speed broadband. At the same time, we need to increase job-training programs so that all Alaskans can be prepared for in-demand jobs that pay more. Finally, Mark will make sure that the federal government keeps up its end of the bargain by cleaning up the contaminated lands returned to our tribes, Alaska Native Corporations, and communities.
Empowering and Protecting Alaska Native and Rural Communities
Mark is confident that rural and tribal communities know what they need to protect their people and address problems. Preventing substance abuse, and domestic violence are keys to strengthening our communities. Mark has strongly supported increased resources fortribal courts to make sure communities have the tools they need to protect their women and children. In addition to respecting tribal jurisdiction, we must also respect Alaska Native language and culture, including at the ballot box. This is why Mark has been fighting to make sure Alaska Natives have equal access to vote - whether they speak Yup’ik, Gwich’in, English, or other languages.
Expanding Educational Opportunity
For Alaska Native and rural students to excel, Mark knows they need culturally relevant education. Learning their traditional languages and incorporating Native ways of knowing are vital to well-rounded learning. Tribes and rural schools need the flexibility to be innovative in how they teach their students, not be stifled by one-size-fits-all federal mandates. Mark also knows that rural Alaska needs skilled workers, which requires strong early learning programs and technical education. Rural economies need skilled workers, and Alaska students can become that workforce to strengthen our communities and create more home-grown jobs.